It’s Monday April 25th … the day after the eleventh of eleven days of the 10th Annual Dallas International Film Festival. My eyes and rear end are in recovery mode. I am 18 reviews behind – a situation that normally causes major anxiety; however, rather than sweating the mountain of writing on my “to do” list, I am instead reflecting on the more than two dozen movies that made up my weekends and post-work evenings over the past week and a half … as well as the horrible tragedy that shook the local movie community.
This past Friday evening, while on his walk back to the Angelika Theatre after attending the DIFF Awards ceremony at The Highland, local movie blogger Gary Murray was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver who ran a red light. I didn’t know Gary well, but it was obvious we shared a passion and love for movies. His is a tragic and unnecessary loss, and one made worse by the cowardice of someone who cares so little for others, that stopping to take responsibility was secondary to their own well-being. A good life stolen by a despicable one.
The DIFF management group demonstrated their class by including a tribute to Gary prior to each screening on Saturday and Sunday.
For the festival, the movie lineup was one of the deepest I can recall. There seemed to be only one entry that most agreed was a true clunker, and even that one was placed in the “Maverick” category – a group of films that can best be described as experimental or highly creative and outside the box.
Short films, documentaries, narratives, animation, Texas-based films, Maverick directors, Latino showcase, World films, Family friendly flicks, Student films, parties, celebrities and filmmakers … the festival has something for everyone. The lineup is designed to expand our boundaries just a bit – take in something that we wouldn’t normally give a chance, or even more likely, never have the opportunity to see. Not many do this better than DIFF, and in fact, it’s simply a well-run festival with wide-ranging films, friendly volunteers, and a schedule that works (with a shout-out to the Angelika Film Center and Alamo Drafthouse).
The list of winners is available at www.dallasfilm.org and for anyone looking to attend next year, I’d be happy to offer some tips … protect your eyes and your “seat”.